By Paul Ndiho
Thousands of Sudanese demonstrators are continuing to rally in support of their demands for a civilian rule in front of the army headquarters in Khartoum. Protesters are keeping the pressure on the military council to quickly transition to a civilian government following the ouster of longtime former President Omar al-Bashir.
The Sudanese Professionals Association, the chief organizer behind the protests, is urging people to head to the sit-in and defend it from any new attempts by the military to disperse the demonstrators.
Protesters remain defiant after an attempt to break up their sit-in. They’ve been here outside the defense ministry since April 6th.
After removing Bashir, the military council announced that it would setting up a transitional military council to run the country for up to two years – but demonstrators have strongly rejected that plan.
“Our first demand is the need to form a civilian sovereign council, with aggressive representation for limited tasks. This council must have limited tasks, which are the tasks of sovereignty only.”
Outside army headquarters crowds remained camped outside the complex, despite SPA warnings of an attempt to disperse the sit-in.
And the 55-member African Union threatened to suspend Sudan if the military fails to hand power over to civilians within 15 days, saying “a military-led transition would be completely contrary to the aspirations of the people of Sudan.”
“The African Union would further appeal probably to all stakeholders right now on the ground that more now than ever, it’s time to engage in an inclusive dialog, to create the conditions that would make it possible to meet the aspirations of the Sudanese people, to form democracy and good governance and restore constitutional order as soon as possible.”
“We as Sudanese we are looking forwards for justice, for freedom, for democracy and we thank all our people, our youth, our women for this great victory, and we are going to make all pressure to the military council to reply to all our demands.”
Witnesses say several army vehicles had surrounded the area of the sit-in and that troops were seen removing the barricades which demonstrators had put up as a security measure.
“We do not believe in them we still in our revolution, our demands are not met and we are not going to leave this place until we get everything done. We hope that we can get civil government, we don’t want the army government any more in Sudan, and we don’t want the Islamic Party National Congress”.
“The government is not yet, and the government did not fall until now, and I think that not yet. So all the people in the world they have to know that the Sudanese people now will not go back to their houses without falling total regime… and the Islamic movement”.
A 10-member delegation representing the protesters delivered a list of demands during talks with the council last weekend, according to a statement by the Alliance for Freedom and Change umbrella group.
The military council, however, has met with political parties, urging them to agree on an “independent figure” to be prime minister.
“We want to set up a civilian state based on freedom, justice, and democracy,”
Omar al-Bashir ruled Sudan with an iron fist for 30 years before he was deposed following mass protests that have rocked the country since December.
Bashir rose to power in a 1989 coup, and he was one of Africa’s long-term serving presidents.
The United Nations human rights office, is calling on the military council to cooperate with the International Criminal Court which has issued an arrest warrant for Bashir for alleged war crimes committed nearly 15 years ago.
World powers, including the U.S. and Britain, and Norway have issued a joint statement calling for “inclusive dialogue to effect a transition to civilian rule and democratic governing much sooner than two years. Meanwhile, thousands of people